1/29 Check in Post

Check in! Okay everyone who emailed me about the check-in web going away needs to post how they are!!! 🙂


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57 Responses to 1/29 Check in Post

  1. topf says:

    I think I arrived on the other side. It’s been 2 months of very low contact with one fight in between (which I think is ok considering how easy it is to slip). It’s been 5 months total of turmoil because this started in September. Staying away from the person who is hurting you is just so effective. I have been able to understand so much. And the pain is mostly gone.

    There is something important that I’ve come to understand. The ex was an echo of a voice inside of me. The way he treated me and what he told me with his treatment (crossing my boundaries, not listening to me when I tried to set them, wanting me to be someone I was not, dictating what my priorities were supposed to be) was a reflection of what I thought of myself. It’s funny. He treated me like a queen and very lovingly most of the time. But when my wishes and his collided, he made me feel like something was wrong with me for not wanting what he wanted. He didn’t do it aggressively but I did notice. And I took his concerns seriously because it was easy to confuse and convince me by telling me “Hey, you’re cool and all but you’re not all that”. But I wanted to be all that, and I was willing to prove it to anyone who would challenge me to.

    Then the whole debacle came with me not being radical enough about my politics. With it I got to notice how deep the self hate went. His and my own, our self hate danced such a harmonic dance. His is his own to deal with now. Mine: I spent years trying to love myself, expecting the people around me to treat me with respect, and getting better at not accepting anything else, but still somehow secretly convinced that deep inside I am not enough.

    I started to read about the voices in our heads, about the stories we tell ourselves all day, and I noticed that one of the most present stories is that I need to fix myself. All the time, what I do is to try to fix myself. I somehow keep telling myself that the things I do, I do because deep down I think I need to be fixed. Of course I love what I do (I’ve managed to be honest enough with my own life) but there’s this layer on top of these things, filled with self hate, not allowing me to really reach into the love and the richness living there.

    My ex reflected that. He reflected my ambivalence towards myself. He reflected a conviction that I deserve love and respect but also a difficulty to be 100% committed to it. I attached love and respect to achievement. It was easy because I am an achiever. Something in me didn’t see that love and respect don’t work like that. If anyone would have asked me, I would have said the right thing. But I wasn’t living it. And I wasn’t even noticing because that voice telling me that I am bad was such a familiar part of myself. It took my ex to become a radical, loud and aggressive version of this voice for me to notice what was going on.

    But I am free now. He is gone. I don’t need that echo in my life anymore. I am becoming aware of these voices, of these stories and of my disbelief in my own worth. I feel optimistic. Life is good and kind. Apart from this loss, everything was/is going great in my life. Now I get to enjoy it fully while I get to discover a different kind of love for myself. One I don’t attach to achievement. I am giving acceptance a chance. Of my pain, my mistakes, my fears, my insecurities. They deserve love too. Not just the cool stuff I have or have done. I think this is the right path for me right now =)

    • LarryH says:

      wow. inspiring post. thank u

    • jazzcanary says:

      Wow, topf, you write some amazing posts. Describing your ex as an echo of the voice inside of you is just genius.

    • topf says:

      Thanks, guys <3. I am glad if my stuff is of any use to you.

      And it cheers me up a lot. One of the things my ex used to do for me was to help me improve my writing (I am writing a PhD thesis). After all the stuff I've worked through concerning him, the one fear I am left with is that the stuff I write won't ever be the same. I have a lot of ideas and I see a lot of patterns in things but I often struggle to organize them and make them plausible for other people. He was really good at helping me deal with that part. Now I have to find a way to do that on my own. I am scared I won't be able to.

      • jazzcanary says:

        You don’t have to do that all on your own. You can look for other support and guidance. Even if your ex was helping you with it before, the writing was essentially coming from you. You just need a supportive editor, like all writers do 🙂

        • topf says:

          =) Thanks, Jazz. Sometimes I feel bad because I think an essential part was coming from him. But your reminder is perfect. All people who write have help. I just need to find new help. I am just a little clueless about how to go about it. My uni has a writing center where they offer some services. Maybe I can start there.

  2. LarryH says:

    Really glad the comments are back. I have been off FB for a while now. I am guilty of being a lurker and hope that other lurkers come out and post to keep this site alive. Peace out.

  3. jazzcanary says:

    I recycled some grief this weekend and also feeling worthless. I was feeling really good about the direction of my life and how I was feeling, and got triggered. I had to watch a video for my research class, and it was a recording of a video conference in which I participated, so I ended up watching myself talking for a few minutes, and all I did was find fault with myself. My hair looked bad, my face was fat, I talked to slow, the pitch of my voice was too low, my eyebrows weren’t balanced, and on and on. It was awful, and instead of countering any of it, I held on to it the rest of the weekend. I obsessed about my weight all day yesterday.

    Secondly, I posted some very strong feelings about recent acts by the new federal administration, and a “friend” started using is as a platform to start off on debating her own views. It’s hard to explain, but she’s done this numerous times, and it’s clear she does it for attention, so this time I called it out, in a very low-key way. She didn’t take it well, and why would I expect her to, but I felt awful. I struggle with speaking out, although I will and I do. I’m known for being outspoken and passionate about my beliefs. Earlier in the week I had issues with another department as I was trying to advocate for a student, and was rebuffed. I feel terrible when I get a negative response. I worry I’ll “get in trouble”. I feel bad about myself. You can imagine how it’s played out in my relationships. It’s codependency, all of it.

    I ended up crying on and off for a couple of hours. I wanted to talk to my ex, which surprised me, because it’s been several months, and I know he is the last person on this Earth who would be of any help. I guess it’s some weird connection with thinking I’ll feel better if I can get approval and attention from a significant person I haven’t been able to, like my parents. I had very broken sleep, and feel emotionally hungover today. Yuck!

    • Susan J. Elliott says:

      Wow. So much stuff. I have always seen you as an outspoken and passionate person. It’s amazing that you felt bad later on. I think that when we all get into that place we want someone to validate us and tell us that what we did was the right thing. It might be that he was the first person you thought of. It’s hard, a lot of times, to self soothe when we feel doubtful about our own actions or words, but that is probably an area you need to work on (I know I do most of the time). Or find a friend who can be a champion or a sounding board. You are what is right with the world (passionate and opinionated), not what is wrong with it. Be good to you.

      • jazzcanary says:

        Thank you for the encouraging words, Susan. I’m going to think about the self-soothing when I feel that way. Being passionate and outspoken has brought me admiration at times, but also a lot of negative feedback, which I’ve realized as I’ve become older, came because I’m female. There are many negative connotations: when I was younger it was the fear of being regarded as “bossy”, and then in high school when I was in leadership positions, it put up a barrier with guys. The thing is, I’m not a micro-manager type and I don’t really enjoy telling people what to do, so I don’t. I’m more energized by inspiring others, and it has helped me to help others to get inspired about going to school or changing their lives. Hmmmm…I never realized until writing this how much I’ve rejected that part of myself.

  4. canvas3 says:

    Glad the comments’ section is back since I deactivated my FB and didn’t want to get back on it, since it’s still pretty early in the game for me and I know I need to heal first. It was hard to bargain whether to reactivate it just for GPYB comments, I didn’t want to miss out, but there were potential triggers on there.

    I’ve been taking antibiotics that have been knocking me off this past week – so my journaling/affirmations/self care has been kind of slower/nonexistant than usual. A couple weeks ago I did 2- 20 min screaming sessions in my car, which were naturally followed by deep sobs, which was a good release and healing (I realize now, 2 weeks after).
    I think that has helped a lot since I know I had/still have some pent-up anger towards my ex that I didn’t know how to express. It was extremely painful though while I was going through it – perhaps it’s also some unresolved grief, and I had to remind myself that it’s just one less day of grief. I know I still have a lot more emotional release to do, I haven’t done it since. And I’m kind of worried because I haven’t been allowing myself space to just feel sad every day (as the workbook says) due to my sickness. My affirmations need some more work, and I’m trying to stabilize my self care so that I am able to work through the inventories soon.

    The images/flashbacks still happen throughout the day, but I feel they’ve slowed down a little compared to the earlier days which were hell! It’ll be 2 months since the official breakup soon which I’m excited about. I’ve been applying to jobs, and trying to get some sort of a social life going, planning for the future. Slowly rebuilding!

    Grateful for this space!

    • Susan J. Elliott says:

      I received the same comments in email over and over and I hope that you guys who are not on FB continue to utilize the space here. I just hadn’t seen comments in a few days and the FB group was SO active so I was thinking that instead of checking here all the time, I’d concentrate over there. BUT I have been not very active on FB for a long time so it’s easy for me to pop over there, visit the FB group and leave but some days I DO get sucked into the newsfeed. It’s not even an ex or anything so I GET IT. In fact, my life was so peaceful in the months after I gave up FB. So I do get it.

      If you’re sick, that is what needs to be tended to. Wait until you are physically well so that you can continue your grieving. It will wait, but it sounds like you are doing all the right things. Be good to you!!

      • Canvas3 says:

        Thanks so much for your comment and support, Susan. It’s much appreciated. 🙂 As per your advice, I took a break from grief and now I am slowly returning to it after feeling a little better. It’s been a while. Just had an angry letter writing session. I do sometimes get a little “Ahh when is this work going to end! It keeps following me around like a puppy,” lol, but there’s no way out but through. Lots of self care.

    • topf says:

      The screaming sessions sound fascinating and super healing!

      For me there’s something magic about 2 months after a breakup. It’s almost always been the moment when I get to the other side.

  5. sadinNY says:

    I had to take a break. I posted something a few months ago. I was making progress, doing my inventories, which led to more inventories…and then the one year anniversary of my mother’s death came up. It was a hard day, but I had been doing my work and it really was manageable. That same night, I got a call and my oldest brother died. The oldest brother who was abusive to me as a kid, who had a lifetime of substance abuse and criminal activity, and whom I had not had contact with for 13 years. And yet, it hit me. Hard. My mother had never given up faith on him. She prayed for him everyday. I guess I always thought that somehow, miraculously, he would stop drinking and turn his life around. He didn’t. I was sad for him. For knowing that he lived his life and in the end the alcohol won. I was grieving and my family and friends couldn’t understand it because he had become a monster. I couldn’t understand it, but I needed to grieve. Then the holidays come up and I was so thankful for your re-post about looking forward to Jan 2nd. This was my children’s first Christmas without their dad, not because they are fatherless, but because he has chosen to exit their lives. So we had many tears, but we got through it and are closer and stronger for it. It is very hard to watch your children hurting, I got an email(really a rant) yesterday from my x, blaming me for everything to include the children’s pain over the holidays. I have maintained NC with him and have asked that he only communicate with me about the children. I need to figure out how to avoid reading his angry rants but still get any necessary info about the children. He knows my triggers and guilt–that’s a big trigger for me. Today, I looked up an article you wrote about guilt. Very helpful. I know that I wasn’t happy and that I was in a controlling, overly critical, and emotionally abusive marriage. At least now, for the first time in my life, because of GPYB and my inventories, I understand why. I now know the red flags that I ignored. I know what I deserve, and I am ok being a single mom. I am more than ok, I am happy.

    So, I am back on the wagon and ready to continue reading and working… Thank you!!!

  6. sophia says:

    Hi dear susan, i once logged in to the blog couple of days ago, posted 1 comment to ask some questions, but from reading your posts listening etc, i already found my aswers. I am a new member. So as a summary:
    – i have left by my ex fiance 8 months ago. We were engaged for 2 years, and plus dated 4.5 years before.
    – i cannot explain the pain i have been going thru since the break up. My story is too long, so will skip this a bit.
    – i am a member of a divorced family. My father left us when i was 11. I am 33 yrs old now.
    – i have gone thru the pain so long, for 6 months or so, i was only crying, or lying in bed, or trying to do only survival things
    – i had 2 emdr therapies from a wonderful lady, and that helped me a lot as well.
    – 1,5 months ago, i found a site where they were talking about relationship obssessive compulsive disorder (rocd) and the people having this disorder. It so much represented of him to me. Then, i started to read and read. Then i had the courage (somehow) to trash all the gifts etc he bought to me. I deleted all photos emails etc. it was REALLY really hard after 7 years.
    – then i purchased a book on amazon. Then found gpyb as a suggestion. I bought it 9 days ago. Finished it the following day. Since then i am watching your videos (finished already), and reading your posts on the blog (came till nov 15, i also read the comments so takes a bit long).
    The thing is i really feel better. And i am grateful for this ease. My pain on my chest was killing me, it is lighter nowadays. It means so so much to me. I recently wrote a review on amazon as well (saw your response, and replied back). Thanks for all your help.i really appreciate. So so much.
    My thing is, i want to read a bit more, before i start journaling and inventories. I dont know, i have the courage and will to start journaling, but i do not want to start today and i did not want to start in the last 1 week. Everyday i am just saying that “tomorrow i will do a fresh start”. Do you think i am just postponing? And should i start right away? As mentioned, it has been 8 months already, and i am way better. But again… I dont know.
    The other thing is, i lost my job nearly 4 years ago. And dealt w so much things in between. I am w my mother, and ok at the time being. But this break up stage killed my willingness to go out. I just did not feel safe in the beginning and later, i learned he has a new gf (someone saw him having a dinner), and i was scared to see them together and feel more humiliated. But now, after reading from you, i am not scared (i am grateful that it does nor scare me that much anymore, but i have still some feelings for this matter that i should work on). But i just want to work on journaling and do some affirmations and inventory before i let myself out (ofcourse i am going out sometime w my mother or friends, but for example i cannot go to the places (that i am used togo alone or with him), in order not to face him, or face the memories. Should i do it when i want or feel? Or should i start doing it while carrying my works (journaling, reading, etc)? My feeling is that i make some journaling and writing letters, and once i finish my relationship inventory, i go by the sea read my letter out to a friend/to myself and burn it. And that ritual becomes a starting point for me. But not sure, if i am just postponing and justifying this postponment?

    Many thanks again for all your courage, help, and being you! You are like a hero to me!
    Xxx.

    • Susan J. Elliott says:

      Thank you again for that great review. It’s much appreciated.

      I do believe you should start journaling and affirmations asap. You will feel so much stronger once you start that. Take your time and give yourself a few weeks before doing the Relationship Inventory. You can do this!

      • sophia says:

        Thanks for the prompt answer. What about my second question (in relation with going out)? The thing is, i taught him all the places i love, and he seems like taking his new gf to those places. So that i may face him, so that kept me away and that is why i want to do some work before again going to my favorite places. Should i start doing it asap as well?

  7. Coppergirl says:

    Susan
    Thanks for allowing comments on line again. I too have been off of Faceplant and all social media for years. Tired of every loser in town wanting to be my “friend” and could give a rats whether folks “like” what I had to say. and do not have home internet, just Ms Smartphone. The past few weeks have been doozies; a minor house fire, an injured dog, 4 ft of snow within a week, marked cooling off on the part of my (supposed) boyfriend,and today, a major cluster at work. Was severely taken to task for speaking my truth at a meeting and defending a colleague who is somewhat unpopular. Narcboy and his colleagues were there, all three really expressed that my feelings of anger, disappointment were valid or justified. Really felt belittled and disrespected. This sort of thing has occurred multiple times when I expressed my views. Then found out today that serial cheater Narcboy has been seen in local restaurants with the woman whose s$&@list I am now on. Things starting to make sense; any dissent coming from me would not be welcomed if they are indeed involved in some way. Will have an advocate with me when I meet with her. Was at an event with this woman in town and she really seemed to resent my talking to the older guys there, at one point putting her body between myself and one of them. Weird rivalry? Really need to stick with this damn job another year to be on less precarious financial footing but maybe such is not meant to be. Frustrated and upset as not only does Narcboy get to get away with yet more workplace malfeasance but also that I am needing to vent here rather than being supported by my quasi boyfriend.

    • Susan J. Elliott says:

      Ugh. Every time you describe these events, I want to scream. It’s so hard to exist in these circumstances. Have you done acceptance statements? “Even though x happened, I am a good person…” etc? I think that might help you a lot. You need to find acceptance around your circumstances for as long as you’re in them. Be good to you.

      • Coppergirl says:

        Susan
        I too want to scream but I am not allowed to even feel, much less express dissatisfaction or retaliation will be huge. Classic dysfunctional family dynamics as you well know. Many of my colleagues tell me to quietly take it and tow the party line. They’re not the ones who suffer nighttime anxiety attacks, a sore chest, heart palpitations. Nope, It’s not my fault and I know that fully. Good people stand up for others who weren’t there to defend themselves. Good people speak truth with respect and courage. Good people care about the future of their students and their community and never wish to see either saddled with huge debts yet stuck in min wage jobs, nor stuck in poverty, inadequate housing, inadequate healthcare and diets. Good people want their students to break away from these things and reach for the stars. However, it is damned hard to once again witness someone who caused you and soooo many others years of pain once again get away with it once again and, of course, you’re the evil one. F$&@ that noise. Maybe all this is another push to send me on my path; get rid of xcess stuff, put house on market ASAP, figure out some way to make the retirement funds stretch without further damage to your soul. I get to sleep these days by fantasizing about a complete break from society, living wild in the woods like a good untamable large mammal. Will never, ever, settle for a life where I feel devalued, marginalized, disrespected.

  8. Coppergirl says:

    Whoops, can’t see my text til it’s sent; Narcboy etc al. invalidated, not validated my opinions.

    • jazzcanary says:

      Coppergirl,

      Ohhhhhhhh, so sorry to hear all this. I have been in those types of meetings, and I work in higher ed, too, and I know the kind of machinations of which you wrote. I also live in a very snowy place, and you learn to take even a foot of snow in stride, but four frickin’ feet in a week is ridiculous. We had five feet in a month two years ago, and it just wasn’t even absurdly funny anymore. Most of all, I’m very sorry to hear your bf is emotionally MIA. And yet, you sound so strong and secure within yourself, which I admire, and encourage, and support, for what it’s worth.

      • Coppergirl says:

        Thanks, Jazz. We strong chix have the same feelings as everyone else and bleed just as much. I see all this as the path being shown to me. I’m not meant to be here, not meant to work here, sadly, not meant to love here either. I’ve proven what I needed to prove; that this community could become self reliant, successfully growing our own food, gathering wood for heat, walking away from consumerism and towards community if it chose to, that we could deal with our issues of unaddressed mental illness/poverty/inequity/substance abuse if we chose to. We could have an educational system that helps its children raise themselves up and out too, if we choose. I’ve also proven that an older, educated, seriously Socialist hyperactive chick can survive what must be one of the hardest environments for a lone woman. Bleeding some but in no way bowed.

  9. topf says:

    Ugh, dammit. My ex wrote me. He broke up with his gf, and started apologizing for all the stuff he did for the last 5 months. No specific apology, which is always a bad sign. He says he knows I can’t break low contact (no talk about feelings, relationship stuff, or what we’re up to). Why on earth does he write me? And why on earth does he tell me they broke up and that she was bad for him? Am I supposed to feel bad for him, toss all the responsibility to her and star talking to him again? Does he think I’m stupid? I mean, I feel kinda good because I knew all along that she was bad for him (hello vanity) but I am not as vain as to let this reel me back in! One of his emotional abuse tactics was to compare me to her and let me look bad in comparison. Am I the second choice here or what? I really hope he doesn’t insist when he notices I won’t be answering. I just want all this to be over.

    Also, what is up with the 2 month mark nc/lc? This is the second time that it happens to me that someone realizes after 2 months of me having decided to not talk to them, that I mean business and that they don’t wanna lose me.

    • Susan J. Elliott says:

      I don’t know what’s with people breaking up with someone and contacting their ex. Oh wait a minute–I DO know what it’s about. It’s called SELFISH.

      It’s ALL ABOUT HIM. He obviously can’t be alone. He’s a selfish bananahead who has to itch every scratch he has. Don’t Respond!!! It’s not about you. It’s ALL about him. Be good to you and stay NC

  10. CrimsonBuddha says:

    Long time lurker checking in to show that I’m here! I’ve been following the blog for about five years now, ever since I went NC with the ex that brought me to GPYB in the first place. I am SO grateful to have found your books and blog, Susan. I had been deeply involved with a lot of new age materials which can be SO wishy washy and unhelpful (and downright harmful).

    No matter what I did, I just couldn’t figure out HOW to make this relationship work. I loved her SO much and wanted it to work SO bad, but I just couldn’t figure it out no matter what I did. When I found GPYB, I finally felt that I had SOLID ground to stand on and a CLEAR set of instructions on what to do. It was seriously a beacon of sanity for me.

    Of course, after reading chapter two I threw the book down. You could just as well have told me to kick a puppy! It took another three months of even more triangulation and some very bizarre Jerry Springer like situations before I was ready to go NC for GOOD, finish the book, and do (most of) the work.

    Even though I’m FINALLY over that relationship, I still get so much out of your blog and have been working through GBOT too (“Life Is Unfair” was super helpful this week). Coincidentally, I had JUST moved over 1000 miles to the east coast in part to get away from my stalking ex, and then Sandy hit. I was there for all of that miserable business too, heartbroken and all alone. That was definitely an awful time for a lot of people, wasn’t it?

    I’m glad you re-enabled comments here because I do NOT feel safe posting on FB or Youtube. Just the other day, my narcissistic abusive nut of a mother who I’ve been NC with for almost four years now created a new account, I can only assume to get around me blocking her old one or something. She does goofy stuff like this all the time. The ex still attempts to reach on in equally shady ways too (they seriously do not quit, do they??). I’m thinking about deleting my FB and being done with it altogether (and changing my name and moving to Antarctica).

    I am SO bad at reaching out and participating online but I’m trying to gently nudge myself to do so because I really have no other options at this point. After 16+ years of recovery work, I’ve finally gotten pretty good at being fair to myself and showing people the door if they don’t treat me right. Unfortunately, I have not figured out how to find the good people, and I have few opportunities to do so locally because I’m in such a rural area. Even when I was in larger areas, I wasn’t too motivated to get out there because I’ve always been such a reclusive person and it’s excruciatingly painful for me to go solo to groups or meetups or whatever (though I did go to various 12-step groups many times over the years, which were NOT for me).

    I love socializing with people though that’s the crazy part. One time went to a health retreat that was like a hotel / spa with a shared common area and I socialized for probably 2-3 hours a day or more every day I was there. We ate all our meals together and there were talks twice a day; I went to every single one and we’d all talk about it afterward, then at night I was alone in the peace and quiet of my room. This balance seemed to work really well for me. Now I have so little meaningful human contact that I am often SO lonely. I think this is why I tend to drink beers and eat junk food at night, which I’ve spent my entire adult life trying to quit doing without success.

    Anyway, not to belabor this and sound like I’m complaining, but that’s where I’m at right now. In fact, I found a sheet of goals I wrote from probably 2007 or so and it said the same thing as I would write now (and have) so I guess this has been an ongoing issue for a long time, which is pretty depressing!! Then to add to an already lonely situation, recently I decided that I needed to distance myself from two of my closest and only friends I really have left for a variety of reasons that have been building for 4-5 years now. So right now, all I really want to do is to figure out how to create a full and happy life. That’s my main focus at this point.

    • Susan J. Elliott says:

      I’m glad you posted. I am honestly spread too thin to put energy and effort into places where I’m just hearing myself talk.

      Yes, Sandy was miserable. I assume you’re talking about my story in the beginning of GBOT. It was truly an awful time and trudging through the writing of the book was not appreciated by my publisher so I am very grateful to those who have bought it. It was a labor of love and tested every fiber of my being.

      I think that you sound like you have all the ingredients to create a full and healthy life. Have you seen the post I reposted today? I think you can do it.

      Thanks for checking in. Be good to you and let us know how you are doing at building a life.

  11. topf says:

    I am finally doing something I’ve been dreading ever since I decided to not go back to the apartment where my ex and I lived together. I have been paying my part of the rent all these months. I wanted to heal a bit emotionally before doing this part. Money stuff is really difficult for me. So I finally wrote my ex and told him I want to clear things. We both have scholarships and his is over soon. He is looking for a job but of course there are no guarantees that it’ll happen soon. He depends on me paying my part of the rent. Or he needs to look for a roommate. I hate having to do this stuff. I hate how he can’t take the initiative and just get a roommate and set me free. Instead, he says he’ll give me the money I am paying back when he gets a job. I have a very hard time saying no to this stuff. I said I could pay the rent for a few more months if it wasn’t indefinitely (quitting the lease would cost me having to pay my part of the rent for a few months anyway because of a quitting period stated in the lease, so I guess this is kind of ok. This way I get the money back). It kind of doesn’t matter what arrangement we agree to, I feel both like a doormat and like I am being unfair to him. I also just don’t want to be bound to him unnecessarily, and he owing me money binds us together for a while. It’s difficult for me to decide how to navigate this best.

    My problems stem from how my parents dealt with expenses related to me. They sent me to an expensive private school when I was little. I was the best in my class and never gave anyone any trouble but my parents kept rubbing the price of my school under my nose and they also fought a lot about it (my mother insisted I deserved the school because I had such good grades. My father thought any school is as good as the next, which was not true. The school I went to really gave me a lot I wouldn’t have had otherwise). I felt guilty and tried to save them money by not wanting birthday parties or any other expenses. I grew up thinking I wasn’t worth spending money on, and like I have to avoid making people have to spend money because of me. So I have a really hard time with this stuff. I am also super frugal. It has helped me do things other people don’t do because they think they don’t have the money, but it also makes solving stuff like with the rent and the apartment really hard for me. It’s an emotional rollercoaster for me right now. No matter what I do, I feel guilty or unfair, either towards myself or towards my ex.

    • jazzcanary says:

      Topf: I have been very codependent with my money in relationships over the years. I took on more than my share of the bills, went along with ongoing underemployment of ex-husbands and boyfriends, took on debts after the divorces that should have been shared, etc. It was just another way of expressing my belief that I had to earn everything, and also that I had to take responsibility for everything. It’s a guilt thing, and I know it came about in my childhood, too. Both my parents were and continued to be very dysfunctional with money. I’ve also used money as a way to assert my independence, which has been a good thing.

      You owe this ex NOTHING, except what is truly contractually your responsibility. How long was the lease for? Are you still on it? I don’t know if legally you have no choice but to pay out your part unless he gets a roommate, but if that’s the case, do so and not one penny more. In that same scenario, it would be fair to push on him to get a roommate and a new lease, or to see if you can sublet your part of it. You said he “can’t” take initiative. Remove “can’t” and insert “won’t” and add “as long as I enable him”. Do not agree to him owing you money. He can get a job and a roommate. That is what grown-ups do. You are not being unfair to draw a boundary and pay only what you are legally and contractually obligated to pay. Isn’t this the same guy who has been seeing someone else, broke up, and is now apologizing? He is not going to be spending money because of you, he is going to be spending money because it is his responsibility to take care of himself. You may not feel good about drawing a boundary on this one, but it’s okay, you can do it anyway and know you’re taking care of yourself.

      • topf says:

        Thanks for your reply, Jazz. You remember the details right. And codependency seems like a good word to describe this. I know you are right with everything you’re saying but I am emotionally so overwhelmed and I am somehow so scared that I will piss my ex off. It’s so weird. It’s as if I owed him. I haven’t been scared of any of the other elements of the breakup. I have told him so many truths he needed to hear. And yet here I am, when it comes to money, completely paralyzed.

        Legally, it seems there is a good way out for me that won’t cost too much time or money. I am trying my best to negotiate things with my ex in such a way that I don’t feel too bad either way. But it’s really hard. A part of me would prefer to lose money rather than to face this in the way that is uncomfortable for me, even though it was the ex who brought all this upon us (he got emotionally abusive and I had to move out). Anyone on earth would understand if I just set a clear boundary and bailed out of every responsibility towards him.

        I didn’t even know this would be so hard. I am super scared of “the consequences” of pissing him off, even though he hasn’t been pissed off at anything I have done all these months, and there can’t really be any consequences.

        Right now I am waiting for him to reply to my last email. It would be unwise to do anything out of despair before I know what he says. Emotionally, I am struggling. How did you solve/ improve your codependent ways concerning money?

        Thank you so much, jazz.

  12. jazzcanary says:

    I’m not sure I really solved them, topf; it would be more truthful for me to say that 1) I literally lost enough money I wasn’t willing to behave in those ways any longer, and 2) I’m haven’t lived with a significant other since 2010.

    I can relate to the emotions and thoughts you’re describing. My second ex-husband would not move out of our house, although I had been living there before we bought together. He kept demanding large sums of money as some kind of buy-out even though the market had crashed. I felt guilty for ending the marriage, even though he was awful to me. He was also chronically underemployed, and not willing to recognize and change the behaviors contributing to that state. I paid 75% of the bills because I made more money, and I kept strict accounting because he didn’t trust me about money, all because I refused to hand over my paycheck to him. He just kept living there, and although we had separate rooms and stuck to different parts of the house, it was a living hell for over a year. I felt this crazy mixture of fear and guilt that was so like how I felt whenever I went against my parents’ wishes.

    I think that underneath it all was feeling shame, because when I would look at the situation, I just could not give myself “permission” to do what I wanted. I kept second-guessing myself because I had not done everything perfectly in the marriage, and I was not a perfect money-manager, and he had no problem supporting my self-doubt. It’s like I couldn’t stand up for myself and what I wanted unless I was perfect, and it was the same way when I was growing up. I was scared of my ex’s accusations and negativity. I didn’t know yet how to detach what someone else thought of me.

    There was also my feelings of guilt, because my ex-husband had not done well for himself as an adult, for a number of reasons. I got myself believing he really needed me or he wouldn’t be okay. I was scared for his welfare in a way, and that was very very familiar as my mom wasn’t very functional during my teen years due to alcoholism and depression, and one of my brothers died when he was 30 from alcoholism. In those cases I felt like I had to take care of them and I was scared for them, but I also felt so very trapped and I was angry at them for staying sick.

    In the end, I finally got a lawyer, who asked me why I waited two years. I cashed in my retirement and paid my ex 10K, which I saw as buying my freedom. I regret doing it, and to be fair, my attorney told me to hold out and not do it. He was right, but I felt so desperate to get away from my ex-husband, I did it anyway.

    I don’t know how I know, but I am absolutely sure I’ll never go back to that kind of behavior. Reading “Women Who Love Too Much” helped me A LOT. I really got an understanding of how I picked men who seemed to need me, and how and why I put tremendous energy into trying to change them into loving supportive partners. I am so grateful that will no longer be my story.

    • topf says:

      Dear Jazz, thank you so much for your words. I realized many things while reading your comments about my and your situations. My issues with money and how they mirror my fears and my self-esteem problems are real but they don’t need to get in the way of getting things done. You inspired me to write my ex and tell him I am doing what I am obliged to do by law and by the contract but that I won’t do more than that.

      I said I decided to disentangle our lives and that the financial part has to be disentangled too, no exceptions. Just like he told me many months ago when he refused to acknowledge the pain he was causing me and said he can’t take responsibility for my pain, I said I can’t take responsibility for him and soften the blow of this disentanglement. I said putting further distance between us comes first for me. He has 3 months from now to find a solution of his liking. After that I won’t be paying anything else. I am in contact with a lawyer and I know this won’t be a problem.

      After I wrote him I realized taking care of myself will sometimes piss people off. Their opinion doesn’t need to stop me from doing it. I thought “if he gets mad, so be it”, and it felt so liberating. I have been generous enough in this situation. It’s enough. At some point the generosity needs to stop and the self-care needs to step in.

      I was so scared but nothing really happened. He simply accepted my conditions. He sounded a little pissed but nothing bad really happened. He has been such an asshole to me in the last months. The tone of some of his emails has been really arrogant and douche-y, and he hasn’t had any trouble in treating me like I was ripping him off with other financial matters we have had to settle. He didn’t care for a second about pissing me off or being unfair to me. Why should I? And how come he expects me to when he doesn’t extend his kindness to me?

      You are so right. I owe him nothing. I am so glad this is true. And I feel so good for standing up for this truth regardless of my difficulty to believe it. Thank you, Jazz. I am sorry for all the money you lost. But I am happy that you have left this behavior behind. Thanks for telling your story.

      • jazzcanary says:

        Yes!!!! I hope you’re giving yourself big-time credit for what you accomplished. Courage is doing it in spite of the fear, and you are a brave one! I think this is how we also gain respect from others, even if they don’t like what we’ve said or done. So happy for you!

  13. Persuasion says:

    What I like about commenting on here is the anonymity. On the Facebook page there isn’t any, and people on my ‘friends list’ can see that I am a member of the group, even though they can’t see my comments.

    I’m doing well. It has been 11 months No Contact for me. He has tried to hoover me back a few times, the most recent was a month ago when I came home to find him outside my house at the letterbox. I just drove in and remote closed the gate, pretending I didnt see him. My overwhelming feeling was “what did I ever see in him?”. He’d left a cryptic message in an envelope-no real message, no sorry for his behaviour. I tore it up and threw it away.

    I finally feel I have my life back, am making new friendships and revisiting old ones. I started gym 6 months ago and have transformed my figure-I look great and have lost about 7 kgs. A friend remarked to me that I’m glowing and radiating my inner Goddess. I know I’ve healed and it is a great feeling.

    Keep going everyone. It’s tuff at first but the rewards are so worth it.

    • Susan J. Elliott says:

      I appreciate the comment and the check in. Thanks for the feedback about Facebook. I do wish this site was as active as the FB group because it says I have thousands of readers, but few comments. I would love to keep it going here but there is only so much of me to go around. I don’t know about anyone else but I never check my friends’ groups to see what they’re a part of and I respect everyone’s right to do whatever they want to do. But, then again, I’m not a FB addict and can stay away for days and days.

      I love the sentiment, “What did I ever see in him?” The opposite of love is not hate, it’s apathy and “What did I ever see in him?” is the ultimate in apathy. Thanks for posting!

  14. Canvas3 says:

    Hi,

    I’ve been missing my ex for the past week-ish or so. I don’t know what it is – nostalgia maybe? And I’ve been seeing him a lot in my dreams as well, lately, part of me wishing on holding onto him.

    I don’t know what to do besides wait it out. Also I keep writing letters to my ex about the same things over and over again. It’s the same things I am angry about – not sure if writing them is letting the anger dissipate, or remain more of the same. I feel I get back to square one when I write them.

  15. stella says:

    Hi,
    Its the first time I am on here and not sure how this works exactly. I have recently read GBYB.
    My girlfriend left me 6 weeks ago after 17 years. I was/am devastated and have only just started to feel like I can get on my feet again. She moved out, as she was the one to break up – so as not to hurt me further by having to see her everyday. So, I live in our house that we recently bought together. In the first few days I removed all the photos of us and this weekend, replaced all the photos, with ones of my family. She still comes home, to stay with our dog, when I am at work and leaves before I get here. Today she left a note saying she is hurt that I am turning ‘our’ house into ‘my’ home, by putting my personal photos in the frames.
    Was I wrong to replace the pics in the frames? The problem is that every time I walked past where the frames used to be, I think of the photos we had there before, so it hurt, and I did something to feel better.
    I must note that we broke up on relatively good terms, as she said she decided she doesn’t want to be in a relationship but wants to be alone. So other than her leaving me completely broken – I have no real reason to hurt her in anyway. Should I just remove the frames, what can I say to her, without picking a fight.

    • Susan J. Elliott says:

      No, you have the right to do whatever you want to do. She’s the one who left and what did she want? For the house to be an homage to her? NO, that is stupid. Who cares if she’s hurt? Too bad, so sad. You left. Suck it up and get over it, dear.

  16. livealittle says:

    I passed my one year breakup anniversary the other day. I’ve been thinking and writing a lot about it in the previous weeks. At first, I really wanted to celebrate. There was some sort of need for me to justify that I’ve made a lot of progress. Then, somehow I realized that yes, I’ve made a lot of progress and celebrating this doesn’t need to be a huge deal unless I wanted it to be. (Finally settled on trampolining later this week.) The day has come and gone and it was a lot like any other day. I guess it helps to have a lot of schoolwork due.

    On my breakup anniversary, I decided to write my ex a letter which I kept in my journal. Then, I started digging through memorabilia. I found a few cards my ex had given me and cut them up as Susan suggested in GPYB. I enjoyed that quite a lot. I ended up keeping a Valentine’s Day card that he gave me a year before we broke up. (He broke up with me two days before Valentine’s Day. ) I put a fluorescent orange Post-It on the front that says “Love is an action” and keep it on my desk. Helps remind me that writing words like “I love you, you’re my life, blah blah blah” are meaningless when the person you love doesn’t follow through with loving acts. Hopefully it will remind me to treat myself with loving actions too.

    I read Susan’s post about Anniversary Grief. We all commemorate things in our own way. This might be weird but I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. Doesn’t matter whether I am single or in a relationship. I like the idea of celebrating love — even if it would be better if we celebrated love everyday. I’m pretty pumped about Valentine’s Day this year, mostly because I get to celebrate being me. It’s nice to not feel bad about that for the first time in a really long time.

    Anyway, that’s all. Just wanted to share.

  17. jazzcanary says:

    Valentine’s Day ended up being a tough one for me. The farther I get away from the break-up, the more layers are peeled back for me, and it’s painful. I feel tremendous shame over my conduct in my relationships. I was very codependent, very afraid of abandonment, emotionally dysregulated. Most of my partners were neither emotionally healthy nor emotionally available. A couple were emotionally and verbally abusive, and a couple were addicts. The boyfriend who died after two years was very devoted to me, and caring. He died later on the same evening we had an argument. Earlier that year we had an argument and he left the house and I came home to find a note and his ATM card, and some precious belongings laid out. He had decided to walk off without taking his heart meds and let Nature take its course. I worked really hard to get him help and support after. Our last argument was over something he needed to do to get his license reinstated (nothing criminal or alcohol-related), but he wouldn’t do it (call his mom and borrow $1000, which she would have done as he never mooched off her and she was always offering to help) and I was tired of driving him places and taking on that responsibility. During that argument and others, I just always felt like I was being too pushy, too relentless, too trying to get a partner to understand why I was upset and what I wanted, yet I was always scared for bringing anything up so I didn’t let them have their feelings. I just always felt huge responsibility. Anyway, he started having problems after that discussion, I took him to the hospital, he stabilized, they couldn’t find any problem, sent him home, and he died.

    My son’s biological father would have nothing to do with us, and it seemed that was because he didn’t want to deal with me. My first husband left me for someone else; someone he found to be more fun (they used drugs together). I found out later he would read my emails to him aloud to his friends and they would all laugh because I was so dramatic. My second husband was awful to me, and I would act out by crying and yelling and he would “win”. My most recent bf rejected me numerous times and would completely stop communicating for weeks, even months, because I would get upset.

    I don’t know where I’m going with this, except to recognize that although my partners for the most part weren’t great and manipulated me, I was contributing plenty of dysfunctional behavior on my own, and I feel a lot of shame about it. In my mind, it cancels out anything positive any of them might have felt about me. I reconnected last year with my ex h.s. boyfriend, and he was calling me several times a week, and we were talking about a visit. He started pulling away then, and I was very upset. I tried to discuss it with him, and he denied pulling away and then pulled away more. I wrote him, and he did finally say that yes, he had pulled away, and then mentioned how my reaction to it really bothered him. I saw a few weeks ago that he got engaged eight months later.

    So…I know I have picked emotionally unavailable men, and I know that can be unlearned. I am not in any way, shape or form wanting a relationship. On the other hand, I want to feel good about myself. I want to feel like I am worthy of what I would like in a relationship, and that I could handle dating if I wanted to do it someday. I do not feel like I’m “enough” in any respect right now, and I believe I define what “enough” is in an outward-looking way. I had no role models for being a healthy adult woman, either in a relationship or single. When my mother was the age I am now, she was in her sixth marriage. She had nothing for herself. I have made different choices and worked on establishing a different kind of life that is mine and that I can feel proud of, but right now, I don’t feel proud.

    Right now, the immediate issue is feeling like I’m damaged/defective because I’ve been too needy and emotional in the past, and I don’t feel good about my part in any of my former relationships. I feel like I have to redeem myself somehow, and there is no way to do that.

    • Susan J. Elliott says:

      I don’t know if you’ve read some of my comments and various times I’ve posted that when I was in some of my relationships right after my separation, I could have been diagnosed as being borderline. I was acting out of insecurity, abandonment issues, fear and just being crazed whenever someone tried to get close to me.

      I had to do my Father Inventory as I was attracting commitmentphobic men and then I would act out the drama for both of us. The only purpose guilt has is for a learning experience.

      You have to know that you are enough and that your life is fine without a romantic relationship. You have to know that you will be okay no matter what or else you will continue to attract people with whom you will anxiously attach.

      It begins and ends with you but you are more than capable of making the changes you need to make. You can do this1

      • jazzcanary says:

        Thanks, Susan. There was a time I seriously considered if I was BPD. My life has always been stable outside the realm of my intimate romantic relationships, though, and continues to be so. I don’t want a relationship right now, and it isn’t something I believe would make me or my life any happier or more meaningful, and in a way it’s like facing life without a drug. I’ve been struggling with my compulsive eating, too, and love and food have always been my means of escape. I don’t want to re-enact that drama. My father was just awful: abusive, manipulative, narcissistic, and yet I was his “favorite”. He betrayed me so many times. I may have to go to counseling on this one, because I’ve written and thought through that relationship a lot, but obviously, the issues are still there.

    • topf says:

      Jazz, you were so helpful and lovely to me back when I needed it. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. I don’t think I do. But please know that despite all our trauma and brokenness, we all are somehow lovable. Your trouble and experience have helped you see many things clearly in a way that other people wouldn’t. That is an asset both for you and for the people around you, even if things are confusing and overwhelming right now. You will in time untangle these things for yourself in the same way you can help other people do. Hang in there and believe in the version of you that will come out one day on the other side and be and have the things you long for right now. Take steps towards her and believe she is there already, guiding you.

      • jazzcanary says:

        Thanks so much, topf. I am becoming more aware of just how low my self-esteem is, and it is not easy to address. I understand why Susan’s book stresses the importance of affirmations. I may still seek counseling again, though, because I need to really talk it through. I have been so fortunate to find good supportive people in my life, including this blog!

  18. topf says:

    I’ve been having trouble with the website. It doesnt load for me. I get a blank page. I am on another computer.

    I have been feeling weirdly down. I did everything that needed to be done and I have no huge lows but I seem to have reachd a weird plateau. I still feel bad. I am afraid I might slip into depression. I have lost interest in things I used to love, I feel lonely, my self-esteem has suffered. I am unsure about what to do against this, if it’s normal or if I need to make sure I don’t let it stick.

    • livealittle says:

      Hey Topf,

      Sorry to hear you’re not feeling so great. Have you gone for a depression screening? It might help sort out if what you’re feeling is a case of feeling versus the onset of a major depressive episode. And if it was me, I’d want to get on top of that soon so I could start feeling better. Soon.

      • topf says:

        dear livealittle,
        weirdly enough, I’ve been feeling better since I wrote here. I decided to try to get out of the house a little, to meet friends, or to just do stuff outside. It helped enormously. Someone I adore also took the time to just talk to me about my pain and my fears and that helped too.

        It’s weird. When these weird depressive days started, I felt heaviness in my chest. It felt as if it needed to be dealt with. I felt like trash for like a week and was starting to worry, I even got a UTI, and now I am generally feeling better. Maybe my body just needed to purge a little and sometimes that feels just horrible.

        Thanks for your words and thoughts!

    • jazzcanary says:

      Perhaps I’m looking at it too simplistically, but could it be mid-winter blues? I live where there are long winters and we were pummeled by two major snowstorms recently. It is impossible to get enough vitamin D through snow exposure, so a lot of people supplement. If I could afford it, I’d be spending a week on a beach right now!

      Also, you were still having some contact with your ex even though it was limited. Has that contact ended completely and so perhaps you’re experiencing some depression from it?

      Sending you hugs.

      • topf says:

        dear jazz,

        winter blues is indeed very possible. I went out of the house and almost immediately I felt better. I also remember that between Jan and Feb I often feel tired and without motivation. With all the stuff that happened with the ex, it’s possible my difficulties with the mid or end of winter just got stronger.

        I am not sure my sadness is related to the ex. I mean, maybe. I have been realizing that my sadness doesn’t stem from him as a person. It’s the fact that I was treated abusively yet again. It makes me feel like there’s a course on me, or like something’s wrong with me that I am unable to see. I am scared abuse (in whichever form) is an undeniable part of life that I can’t avoid. That scares the life out of me.

        Thanks, jazz =)

        • jazzcanary says:

          I think I understand, topf. I believe the more we practice loving and taking care of ourselves, the more we innoculate ourselves from abusive behavior. We learn to recognize it more quickly and to reject it immediately. There is nothing wrong with you, and I know the feeling. I believe it’s so important to keep surrounding ourselves with people who treat us well in order to see the evidence that not all people will act abusisvely towards us. I honestly don’t like the concept that we will “attract” healthier people when we’re healthy. That always comes across to me as blaming the victim and leads to one thinking it’s our fault and we’re incapable of attracting loving people. Instead, I believe we learn to not let in unhealthy people. I will probably always attract a certain number of men who are emotionally needy yet unavailable, but that is because I am obviously a kind and considerate person, but I don’t have to follow through on a lot of interaction, plus I no longer find them attractive. So, yeah, abusive and toxic people are unavoidable intitally, but we can choose to pass by and not engage.

  19. Beluved says:

    Hello out there,

    Is this where I check in and introduce myself?

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